“What you shared with me, just about how you had so much more free time and felt as if you were on vacation….Just thinking on that led me on a huge decluttering spree this week and I do feel much more free to sit and read a story or play cards with the kids on the porch without that pile of stuff calling my name. “
I always feel so grateful that sharing our story over a cup of coffee can help another family. Traci is such a wonderful woman, and is the owner of Treehouse Learning Community. She sent me this message in an email, and asked that I share more about how we have been decluttering.
I will be honest with you, this was not easy at first because simplifying is 80% mental. It took me a long time to realize that. Once I did, I realized we could not only overcome the cluttered life, but celebrate the simple life.
This quote goes right to the heart of our new life design. It is posted near my desk, so I can remember what we are striving for in this new life.
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” ― Seth Godin
Vacation Meal Planning At Home
I used this strategy recently with meal planning. I had started to resent dinner time. I just had this idea it was one more thing to do. I fell into the trap of researching recipes and healthy eating, but I would spend so much more time and money doing it, only to feel more stressed.
Rethinking Weekly Meal Planning
I did my weekly grocery shopping, sans list. I had just one idea as I headed out the door, “shop like you are on vacation and you rented a house for a week.” I even told my husband my plan. He is used to my “mini presentations” and is a really good sport. We end up laughing a lot as I have a “new plan” to present!
I found myself breezing through the store, choosing healthy options and easy curated meals. Favorites for everyone that celebrate summer and the fun day we had. One meal was ingredients for pizza night and the boys are in charge. Yes, five year olds can make dinner. They have to ask for help with the oven for safety, but know how to decide what temperature it should be and how long to cook it.
My bill was 30% less than a normal week, and so much more fun. I built in a night to eat out and enjoy each other, and found my experiment so fun that I plan to keep it going! My husband likes to grill, so a couple nights are his, a couple for me, and one for the boys, and one out. That seems pretty simple don’t you think?
Redesign Your Life Like a Summer Vacation
Think back to your favorite childhood or your favorite family vacation. Where were you? Who was with you? Where did you stay?
Some of my warmest memories as a kid are from summers visiting relatives. We rented a house in Cape May, NJ. I can walk through it in my mind. There were so many people, remember big Irish family here, so we ate in shifts. I remember the story of my Dad and Uncles getting in trouble with the”Aunts”, because they decided to put all the fish they caught in the bathtub. Seriously!
I remember the porch. I remember riding my bike to the beach and around town. As I write this, I can see the waves crashing and feel the cool breeze. I can see my Aunts all sitting together laughing at the story of the day.
We traveled there with our children for a family wedding a couple of summers ago.I felt like a different person. I got up and ran to see the sunrise and walked back to pick up coffee and breakfast for all my sleepy beach bums. I smiled, laughed, and soaked it all up.
A good friend of mine told me their family plan last year. Her husband was beginning a fellowship at a hospital soon, but after it was over they would be living at a beach. She knew clearly where they were headed and how she saw her life raising her family. Your plan does not need to have a beach it, but do you have a plan?
Can you duplicate this type of feeling on a daily basis? Even with the crazy world calling your name?
Our ingredients were family, bike, beach, morning run, and laughter. Seems doable to meI Some of my cousins moved to the beach with their families a few years ago. They commute back into Manhattan when necessary, but had a family plan in mind. The memories of childhood summers drew them back.
My husband and I were talking about our next move and what we ultimately want our life to look like. We had the same theme, slower pace, water, fishing, family, love, laughter, and together. The new world of working anywhere is essential. What else could you wish for?
I had never heard of a family plan, but read about the idea and realized something. I had these ideas, but we had not shared it with each other. We had done this “dreaming and scheming” before we were married, but had gone with the flow since then. Once we began to declutter our life, we made room for these types of intentional conversations.
I for one, and am excited about our beginning of a family plan. Ready to start yours? It could be as simple as dancing your way through the grocery store for your “vacation meal planning”, or as big as you want it to be. It is your life, and that is the most wonderful part of all.